A recent Pew Research Center study reveals that one in three parents expresses concern about their children’s online activity. In today’s digital world, understanding the online activity of children is part of being a parent. Most people understand that virus protection and software updates are important for preserving online security. However, the personal habits and actions of young Internet users can affect their safety.
Busy parents don’t always have time to stay informed about the latest Internet threats, making cybersecurity experts an invaluable resource for providing online safety information about protecting children and young adults. Still, parents must remain vigilant in staying informed about what social media platforms their children use as well as explaining the primary tenets of Internet safety.
Parents, as well as young Internet users, need cyber safety education. It’s important that youth understand how their social media activities affect their safety. It’s impossible to know who is reading and following media posts left by children, and security is often the last concern on the mind of an unsuspecting Internet user engaging with friends and family members.
Most parents make it a point to always know the whereabouts of their children. The same concern should apply to online activity. Parents should have a presence on their children’s gaming networks and social media platforms. Additionally, parents should have the account and password information of their children’s online accounts. Not to spy, but to verify their activities. Furthermore, it’s incredibly easy for unscrupulous individuals to track the real-world movements of children as they check into venues using online applications by using social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Foursquare.
Keeping Kids Safe in the Digital Domain
Parents should do their best to teach their children about online safety. However, it shouldn’t be left to parents alone to keep their children safe online. Community advocates and cybersecurity specialists can pitch in and do their part to help keep kids safe in the digital domain. Additionally, there are paid services that parents can use to help protect their children online. Most computer literate children understand how to protect their online privacy and security. However, they only use this knowledge to keep their parents from observing their online activity.
Unfortunately, most children don’t apply this same caution when engaging with strangers online. Just as they do in the real world, parents must figure out how to oversee their children’s Internet activity. Additionally, it’s important that they establish online monitoring while children are young so that it’s easier to protect them as they grow older.
Research shows that parents are the best defense for protecting kids, teens and young adults online. Parents can establish a foundation for monitoring their children’s Internet activity by explaining that they want to share in their online experience, not infringe on their privacy. This process is easier if parents maintain an ongoing dialogue with their children about Internet safety. Parents must make sure that their children understand how their online activity exposes personal information about their lives that build up over time.
Getting Help With Cyber Safety
Social monitoring apps and other resources can help parents stay informed about their children’s online behavior and keep them safe. Experts recommend that parents monitor their children closely to protect them from inappropriate content and activities such as cyberbullying and online predators. Sometimes, dishonest individuals pose as children online. They may even encourage children to divulge personal information, such as their home address and phone number. In light of these threats, parents should always be aware of their children’s online activities, including the information that they share and the people that they engage with online.
All parents want to keep their children safe as they explore the Internet, learn new things and engage with others from around the world. There are many academic institutions, community organizations and law enforcement and government agencies that provide resources that teach parents how to protect children as they browse the Internet. In fact, there are many directories with hundreds of resources from around the world that are updated frequently, and many of those resources are available in different languages.
In today’s digital world, it’s vital that parents maintain an open dialogue about Internet safety. Additionally, it’s important that cybersecurity experts advocate for the safety of children as they use the Internet to enhance their lives. Cybersecurity experts are well aware of the dangers that children face online, and as new threats emerge daily, they continue to develop innovative solutions for protecting the public’s safety.